This way of preparing sous-vide braised venison was inspired by a recipe from Piemonte in Italy to braise beef in red wine (or more specifically, in Barolo): Brasato al Barolo. The traditional recipe tells you to marinate the meat in the wine before cooking, but that is not necessary at all if you are going to cook it sous-vide for 24 hours anyway. You can make the same dish on the stovetop or in the oven, but the nice thing about doing it sous-vide is that thanks to the accurate temperature control it will always be tender and never be dry. Traditionally prepared the meat often turns out dry and then it is the delicious sauce (made with red wine, carrot, onion, celery, and stock) that rescues the dish. When you make it sous-vide the sauce will be as delcious, but the meat will be more juicy and tender. This was nice with cardoon gratin as a side and would be a great dish for the holidays. I used neck of venison, but another tough cut like shoulder would also work well.
For 4 to 6 servings
1 kilo (2.2 lbs) neck of venison
1/2 bottle good red wine
350 ml (1 1/2 cups) venison stock
100 grams (2/3 cup) minced onion
100 grams (2/3 cup) minced carrot
100 grams (2/3 cup) minced celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 sprig of rosemary
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp cornstarch
Season the venison on all sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Brown it in olive oil over medium high heat, then take it out of the pan and set aside on a plate to cool.
Add the celery, onion, carrot, and garlic to the drippings left in the pan. Season with salt.
Stir over medium heat until the vegetables start to color, 5 to 10 minutes.
Add half a bottle of red wine.
Add 2 bay leaves, 6 cloves, and a sprig of rosemary. You will have to fish them out later, so it is easy to wrap the rosemary (and possibly also the cloves) in muslin (I used a disposable hairnet). Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the wine has been reduced by half, 5 to 10 minutes.
Add the venison stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer…
…until most of the liquid has gone, about 30 minutes.
Now remove the bay leaves, rosemary, and cloves.
Puree the sauce with a stick blender, food processor, or blender.
Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Vacuum seal the meat with the sauce. You have three options for this:
- If you have a chamber vacuum sealer, allow everything to cool to refrigerator temperature and then vacuum seal.
- If you have a FoodSaver-type vacuum sealer, freeze the sauce before vacuum sealing it together with the meat.
- Or use a ziploc bag and the water displacement method to seal meat and sauce together with as little air as possible. For this method the meat and sauce can still be warm.
Cook sous-vide for about 24 hours at 74C/165F.
Pour the sauce from the bag into a saucepan. Wrap the meat in aluminum foil to keep it warm while you finish the sauce.
Bring the sauce to a boil.
Mix a teaspoon of cornstarch with a teaspoon of cold water, then add this slurry to the sauce.
Stir until the sauce has thickened. You may have to add more cornstarch slurry to get it to the right thickness.
Turn off the heat and reheat the outside of the meat in the sauce for a couple of minutes.
Now slice the meat and serve it with the sauce, on preheated plates.
This is very nice with a Barolo, but also a southern Rhone like Chateauneuf-du-Pape would work very well.
Homemade New England Clam Chowder is a delicious creamy soup that is great as an appetizer for the holidays.